Friday, July 10, 2020

Book Publishing Secrets with Memoirist Marilea C. Rabasa

Name: Marilea C. Rabasa

Book Title: Stepping Stones: A Memoir of Addiction, Loss, and Transformation

Genre: memoir

Publisher: She Writes Press

Website: www.recoveryofthespirit.com


Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?

Marilea: Writing is a tool I have used all my life to try and make sense of some of the things that had been happening to me. My diaries go back to when I was a child. Whenever I am distressed about something, I write about it. Putting my thoughts on paper usually helps me to arrive at some form of clarity. And now I share my thoughts with others, another important part of the process. Other people are critical mirrors to help me take in valuable perspectives on what’s going on. Take in…and consider. There is much that I don’t know, and accepting help from others is an important part of the healing process. It’s also an important part of the writing process. I would be lost without all the great editors who have helped me shape my books.

When I wrote my first book six years ago, I had been dealing with losing my daughter to the hellish world of heroin addiction. It was the biggest challenge I had ever faced in my life, and so, as I had always done before, I decided to write about it. My writing started out as an angry rant, but over time evolved into a powerful memoir, one full of self-discovery.

Life keeps happening, doesn’t it, and I realized that my first “memoir of recovery” wasn’t quite finished. I still had more substance use issues to face that I hadn’t dealt with in my first book. Throughout my battle to save my daughter, my emotional pain found relief, just as my father’s had many years before this, in a bottle. So Stepping Stones is really a sequel to my first memoir, though the focus is on me and not my daughter. I wrote it to  try and heal from the alcoholism that was threatening me. I’m hoping to gift my children and grandchildren with the salient lessons I have learned on how to live well and happily. I want to pay it forward for the next generation and make a difference where it most matters to me.

With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?

Marilea: I chose to publish with She Writes Press, which is a hybrid company in business for a while, with Brooke Warner at the helm. I chose SWP because of their first-rate reputation and their success rate with authors. Traditional publishing was not an option for me, and the small press I used with my first book was lacking in some areas, so SWP seemed like a nice compromise. It also vets potential authors carefully and that matters to me. Many small publishing houses will publish anything that crosses their desk. But She Writes Press is very discriminating, and publishing with them carries a certain amount of distinction.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?

Marilea: It was all pretty straightforward. There was an early glitch that was easily resolved. My project manager and all the editors and hidden faces at She Writes Press were endlessly helpful and supportive.  There’s also a well-thought-out timeline to get things done in a timely manner. They’re very organized at SWP. I think the most distinguishing factor in my mind is the thoroughness of their work, their willingness to do and redo the work until everyone—and not just the publisher—is satisfied with the end product. That takes professionalism, time, patience, and a determination to turn out their best product. I’m happy to be part of such a process, as well as its beneficiary.

What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?

Marilea: The industry is changing. Traditional publishing is no longer the best way to go and fortunately there are many other options for writers who want to become authors. Brooke Warner and her team have written a handbook for all the authors which has been instrumental in educating us about parts of the industry we may not have known about. One thing that Brooke stressed to all of us is the importance of investing in some form of publicity campaign. There are simply too many books out there to choose from, and if we don’t make an effort to publicize what we write, few people will know about it. I learned to put my faith in the professionals and to avoid small skirmishes which might have been draining. My experience with She Writes Press has been a positive one, and I highly recommend them.

Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?

Marilea: Self-publishing? Absolutely! Many of us, myself included, have no other option. But do your research. There are many publishing houses to choose from, and a thorough search is necessary to find the best one for you. Something else I’ve learned, because there is a huge variety of self-publishing houses out there, is that you get what you pay for. 

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Marilea: Keep writing. Write every day. Be disciplined about it, like calisthenics, or healthy eating, or pruning your fruit trees. Don’t procrastinate. We always find time in life for things and people that matter to us, so if you want to be a writer, then write. Our daily routines and activities say everything about what is in our hearts and our minds. When writing is there, it becomes a natural and effortless part of our daily routine.


 


About the Book

 

Addiction is a stealth predator. Unrecognized, it will grow and flourish. Unchecked, it destroys.

Marilea grew up in post-WWII Massachusetts in a family that lived comfortably and offered her every advantage. But there were closely guarded  family secrets. Alcoholism reached back through several generations, and it was not openly discussed. Shame and stigma perpetuated the silence. Marilea became part of this ongoing tragedy.


Her story opens with the death of her mother. Though not an alcoholic, it is her inability to cope with the dysfunction in her life that sets her daughter up for a multitude of problems.


We follow Marilea from an unhappy childhood, to her life overseas in the diplomatic service, to now, living on an island in Puget Sound. What happens in the intervening years is a compelling tale of travel, motherhood, substance use disorder, and heartbreaking loss. The constant thread throughout this story is the many faces and forms of addiction, stalking her like an obsessed lover, and with similar rewards. What, if anything, will free her of the masks she has worn all her life?


Read Marilea’s inspiring recovery story and learn how she wrestles with the demons that have plagued her.     

 

 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Book Publishing Secrets with Rie Sheridan Rose @riesheridanrose #books #bookpublishing

Rie Sheridan Rose multitasks. A lot. Her short stories appear in numerous anthologies, including Nightmare Stalkers and Dream Walkers Vols. 1 and 2, and Killing It Softly Vols. 1 and 2. She has authored twelve novels, six poetry chapbooks, and lyrics for dozens of songs. These were mostly written in conjunction with Marc Gunn, and can be found on “Don’t Go Drinking with Hobbits” and “Pirates vs. Dragons” for the most part–with a few scattered exceptions.

Her favorite work to date is The Conn-Mann Chronicles Steampunk series with five books released so far: The Marvelous Mechanical Man, The Nearly Notorious Nun, The Incredibly Irritating Irishman, The Fiercely Formidable Fugitive, and The Elderly Earl’s Estate.
Rie lives in Texas with her wonderful husband and several spoiled cat-children.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://riewriter.com/  and https://theconnmannchronicles.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RieSheridanRose
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheConnMannChronicles/
The Marvelous Mechanical Man is the first book in a Steampunk series featuring the adventures of Josephine Mann, an independent woman in need of a way to pay her rent. She meets Professor Alistair Conn, in need of a lab assistant, and a partnership is created that proves exciting adventure
for both of them.

Alistair’s prize invention is an automaton standing nine feet tall. There’s a bit of a problem though…he can’t quite figure out how to make it move. Jo just might be of help there. Then again, they might not get a chance to find out, as the marvelous mechanical man goes missing.

Jo and Alistair find themselves in the middle of a whirlwind of kidnapping, catnapping, and cross-country chases that involve airships, trains, and a prototype steam car. With a little help from their friends, Herbert Lattimer and Winifred Bond, plots are foiled, inventions are perfected, and a good time is had by all.

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3bfoz55

 
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Rie: I don’t think there was ever any question in my mind that I would eventually be an author.  From the time I knew what writing was, I wanted to do it. And share it with as many people as possible. I know I was writing poetry by the third grade. Writing this book was mostly a dare for National Novel Writing Month. My writing partner suggested I do it—I think he was supposed to do one as well. I finished mine. I’m still waiting for his.
Is this your first book?
Rie: No. By the time I wrote The Marvelous Mechanical Man, I had at least four other novels in print—one of them completely re-written and re-packaged to become a brand-new book basically—several poetry chapbooks and a short story collection. This one WAS, however, the first time I actually managed to write a sequel. There are now five books in the series, and a spin-off on the way.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Rie: Originally, it was published by a small press in Texas. I chose this route because the publisher was a friend who asked to see the book and was very supportive from the beginning. She did a lot to make the first edition a success—including commissioning the gorgeous cover.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Rie: I think the biggest problem I had with the first edition was that the publisher is probably more of a micro press. She does excellent work, and is one of the best editors I know, but she has a stable of dozens of authors. There was no way she could devote the same resources and time to my book as I could. That’s just the reality of every press. Even the traditional presses don’t offer every author the budget of say Stephen King. As an independent author, I can try as many crazy ideas as I can pay for. And I’ve come up with some doozies. The other problem with small presses is that it is hard to maintain one. I’ve outlived probably a dozen including my first and second publishers back in 2000 when I started.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Rie: I think the main thing I’ve learned from my publishing journey is be flexible, and don’t take anything for granted. Publishers come and go, and even if you are with one of the traditional houses you can be dropped in a minute if your sales start to fall. It isn’t always a matter of talent, either. It is sometimes a matter of luck. Knowing the right people; being in the right place at the right time; making a successful pitch. You never know what might be the piece that catapults you forward to the next level of the journey. One thing I’ve always tried to remember—never burn a bridge. Don’t badmouth other people along the way, or it might come back to haunt you later.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Rie: I wouldn’t have self-published any of my novels if they hadn’t been published by someone else first...until I got to Book Three of my series, that is and stepped into uncharted waters—but by then there is a bit of a following. Otherwise, I look for the validation that someone else is willing to put resources into the project. I never wanted to publish my own work just because it was the only way it would ever be done. Does that make sense? Except poetry. Poetry is hard to find a publisher for. ;)
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Rie: Never quit learning. Read books about writing and apply what works for you. Research if you are writing about a place or time you didn’t live through, or just having a character do something you don’t know how to do yourself. Get feedback—don’t release a child into the world without having several trusted beta readers to tell you what doesn’t work. Revise your first draft. Almost no one is perfect out of the gate. Besides, revision is where the fun starts. Now you know where you are going, you can polish the story till it shines. (This works for any form—short, long, poetry...all of them.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Book Publishing Secrets with David Armstrong, Author of 'The Rising Place'

Name: David Armstrong

Title: The Rising Place

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Find out more: The Rising Place by David Armstrong

Website: therisingplace.com

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published. Is this your first book?

No, this is my debut novel, but The Rising Place is actually my second book. My third novel, The Third Gift, will be released this summer, and I’m currently working on a fourth novel. I have also written four screenplays. I had an aunt who wrote murder mysteries and who was successful at it. I used to brag about having an aunt who was a writer—that seemed so cool to me. And though the idea of following in her footsteps was intriguing, I never cared for her genre. I was a huge William Faulkner fan, though, growing up, and I still am. After I read his last novel, The Reivers, and Harper Lee’s, To Kill a Mockingbird, I was hooked on writing. I think most southern writers—if not all southern writers—have been influenced by both these great authors, to some degree. And then came John Kennedy Toole’s, A Confederacy of Dunces. After I read this wonderful novel, there was no turning back.


With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?

I went with an independent fiction publisher based in New York. I initially tried going the traditional route with a major publisher but had absolutely no luck with this. Unless you’re already an established author, it’s virtually impossible to get one of the big publishers to give you a look. I believe I read somewhere that the odds of this happening are 1/1000, but I think it’s much greater than that. There’s just too much competition out there for a big publisher to consider a new writer—even a very talented, new writer.


Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?

There are always pros and cons about anything or anybody. The writing cons are: writing is hard, demanding, and time consuming—especially if you’re working another full-time job, as I currently am. I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be for a working mother to find the time to write! Writing is a lonely pursuit, and it costs money to get your book noticed by readers. Some people pay to have their book published. That wasn’t my choice, but I did pay an excellent publicist to help me get The Rising Place noticed. Writing is a cathartic, artistic endeavor, but it’s also a business. And, as in any business, you have to spend money to make money. So, find and hire a good publicist to help you sell your book. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have a major publisher take you on and promote your book, you still have to be willing to do whatever it takes to help promote it. With over 2000 new books being released worldwide every day, it’s unrealistic to think you can write a book, have it published by whomever, and that it will sell like COVID19 masks. Not this day and time.

Now to the pros: Like I said above, writing is a cathartic, artistic endeavor which can be one of the most—if not the most—rewarding experiences you will ever have. It can also be financially rewarding. If you have the talent, dedication, and discipline to endure in your writing and querying of an agent or publisher, you will probably succeed. And even if you don’t, you will be so much better off for simply having tried—sort of like that old saying, “Shoot for the moon, and if you miss, you’ll still be among the stars.” Corny, perhaps, but true. One more pro: When I write, I am literally “in the flow”—meaning, I’m basically oblivious to everyone and everything around me, except my story and my characters. Sometimes, I can sit at my laptop for eight or nine hours and be totally unaware of how long I’ve been writing. And I’m somehow able to get inside my characters heads and feel, experience, what they’re doing and saying. For me, this is a major turn-on. Nothing has ever done this for/to me, like writing has. Well, there was this young woman once, who….


What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?

Unless you self-publish or pay a vanity press (I know, they really don’t like to be called that, anymore, but….) to publish your book, the publishing industry is a tough nut to crack. I compare it to trying to get into Harvard Law School or make it in Hollywood. Yes, it can be done, but it’s very hard to do so. That’s why dedication and discipline are so critical to a writer’s success. And you have to have tough skin—really tough skin. When I first started writing in the early 1980s (Yep, I’m an old dude.), there were no computers or emails. So, you hand-mailed query letters to potential agents and publishers. They usually wrote you back (there wasn’t as much competition, then, prior to the advent of self-publishing avenues, like Amazon), generally via a form, rejection letter. I received so many that I could tell if it was a rejection letter, just by examining the envelope. And you’ve heard this story before: I received so many rejection letters that they could have covered my bedroom walls. Funny, but also true. But this all was before the advent of a lot of small presses and independent publishers. I feel blessed to have found (or have been led to) an excellent and successful, Indie publisher, The Wild Rose Press.


Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?

Absolutely. Forget the big publisher route. Find a good, small publisher, or an Indie publisher with a successful track record, write a great query letter, and email it to them. It’s still challenging, to say the least, but this is the method I’d recommend. And don’t forget to find and hire a good, experienced publicist, like I did, once your manuscript is accepted. It’s never too early to find a good publicist. They’re in high demand and well worth the investment.


What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Write something every day. It’s like playing the piano or practicing your golf swing (both of which, I’ve never done well)—you have to just do it and keep on doing it. Also, be patient and never give up. And like Joseph Campbell once wrote: “Follow your bliss.” If you do, you’ll never be disappointed.



About the book:

The Rising Place is an epistolary novel with an intriguing premise: What if you found a box of love letters written during World War II—would you read them? And what if you did read them and discovered an incredible story about unrequited love, betrayal, and murder that happened over seventy years ago in a small, southern town?

A young lawyer moves to Hamilton, Mississippi and meets Emily Hodge, a 75-year-old spinster, shunned by Hamilton society. The lawyer is intrigued by her, though, and can’t understand why “Miss Emily” lives such a solitary and seemingly forgotten life. But the letters Emily leaves for him reveal how her choices caused her to be ostracized, though definitely not forgotten.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Book Publishing Secrets with Emilio Corsetti III @emiliocorsetti #books #bookpublishing


Emilio Corsetti III is a professional pilot and author. Emilio has written for both regional and national publications including the Chicago Tribune, Multimedia Producer, and Professional Pilot magazine. Emilio’s first book 35 Miles From Shore: The Ditching and Rescue of ALM Flight 980 tells the true story of an airline ditching in the Caribbean Sea and the efforts to rescue those who survived. Emilio’s latest release Scapegoat: A Flight Crew’s Journey from Heroes to Villains to Redemption tells the true story of an airline crew wrongly blamed for causing a near-fatal accident and the captain’s decades-long battle to clear his name. Emilio is a graduate of St. Louis University. He and his wife Lynn reside in Dallas, TX.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website Address: https://www.EmilioCorsetti.com
Blog: https://www.35milesfromshore.com (dedicated website)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmilioCorsetti 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Emilio.Corsetti.III

On May 2, 1970, a DC-9 jet departed New York’s JFK international airport en route to the tropical island of St. Maarten. The flight ended four hours and thirty-four minutes later in the shark-infested waters of the Caribbean. The subsequent rescue of survivors involved the Coast Guard, Navy, and Marines. In this gripping account of that fateful day, author Emilio Corsetti puts the reader inside the cabin, the cockpit, and the rescue helicopters as the crews struggle against the weather to rescue the survivors who have only their life vests and a lone escape chute to keep them afloat.

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/39zbKBq

 Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/39HL7dz

Is this your first book?
This was my first book.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
This is an independently published book.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
I wasted nearly three years trying to find a traditional publisher. At the end of that three year process the only offer I had was from a European publisher who offered me $2,500. I turned down that offered and decided that I would bring the book to market myself. I wish I would have done it sooner.
The book was first published twelve years ago and it still sells a hundred or so copies a month in one of three formats: eBook, print, or audio.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
I would advise all writers to give the traditional route a try. Maybe you will be luckier than most. Spend all of your effort in finding a literary agent. Give it a year or maybe two. Then decide if you want the story to get out there or do you want it to sit on your hard drive where no one will ever see or read it.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Absolutely. You won’t get rich, but you will reach readers who will not have known about you or your story.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
When you think you have your manuscript as good as it can get, it’s time to hand it over to the professionals: editors, cover designers, typesetters, people who know how to produce quality books.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Book Publishing Secrets with MaryAnn Kempher #books #bookpublishing

For many years, MaryAnn Kempher lived in Reno Nevada where most of her stories are set. Her books are an entertaining mix of mystery and humor. She lives in the Tampa Florida area with her husband, two children, and a very snooty Chorkie.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

What happens when your soul is bound to another before you were ever born? Lonny and Roo have been best friends since they met in high school in 1975 at the age of fourteen. Same last name, same birthdate, they were attached at the hip; rarely was one seen without the other. Together they navigate through their emotional high school years, but nothing prepares the naive teenagers for the real world ahead of them. Now on the cusp of their fiftieth birthday, Lonny finds Roo broke and alone and convinces her to leave with him on a cross country road trip from New York to Las Vegas, hoping to set her on a new path in life. Told exclusively by Roo, follow the friends back and forth through their unique relationship — experience the loss of innocence, career and life choices that separate and unite them, and unspeakable events that nearly destroy them. It’s a love only they understand, as well as the unbreakable bond that forever ties them together. Is it possible they are only capable of loving each other?

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/329vHMV


Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
A year before starting book one, I’d retired from the US Air Force. Because my kids were still young, I was staying home vs going back to work outside the home. I had time on my hands, but writing a book wasn’t something I’d ever given any thought to until I’d read an article on-line that got me to thinking. It took me nearly five years from start to publication because I was treating writing as a hobby. Now, I average nine to twelve months between books.
Is this your first book?
Yes, but since its original publication I’ve gone on to write six more.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
This book was originally published by a small publisher, but after a year I bought the rights back and self-published.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
I’ve had ups and downs. All my books have done relatively well. My first book made it into Amazon’s top 100. However, it’s been hard to maintain that momentum. Having been published traditionally and having self-published, I’ve found self-publishing to be the best route for me. I like the control it gives me.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
My respect for authors who do really well has increased. This is because I know that no matter how much you promote, it might not be enough. It’s not easy to become a bestselling author. I’ve learned that a book that most people say is written terribly could still be a bestseller while a book that is thought to be well-written might not sell at all. That there is an element of luck to this business.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Self-publishing? Yes, absolutely.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Assuming you’ve created a well-written, enjoyable book—don’t assume your job is done. Ensure the book is professionally proofread and edited, and is given a professional looking cover. As much as your budget allows—promote, promote, promote.


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Book Publishing Secrets with Elysia Strife @elysialstrife #books #bookpublishing

Elysia Strife is a self-published author of science-fiction fantasy and romance novels.

Adopted by two educators, Strife developed a deep love for learning new things. In 2012, she graduated from Oregon State University with two Bachelor’s Degrees in Public Health and Human Sciences: Interior Design and Exercise Sport Science. Her past wears fatigues, suits, and fitness gear, sprinkled with mascara and lace.

“I like to question everything, figure out how things work, and do tasks myself. Experiencing new things is fun but also helps with writing raw and genuine stories. And I’m always trying to push my comfort zones.”

Strife likes the rumble of her project car’s 350-ci V8. She enjoys the rush of snowboarding and riding ATVs on the dunes. But nothing brings her more solace than camping in the mountains where the stars are their brightest.

Strife enjoys connecting with readers and welcomes all feedback and questions.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: elstrife.com


A romantic-suspense novel featuring: miscarriage, hot co-workers, cybersecurity threats, and the
struggle of defining family.

With only an abusive mother-figure to guide her, Norah has learned everything the hard way. An unexpected pregnancy with her fiancé changed her career plans. But miscarriage and betrayal thrust everything in reverse again. Eerie things start happening at work, and Norah finds herself at the center of the investigation.

Secrets tumble forth from Norah’s father, her ex-fiancĂ©, and the mystery around her adoption, breaking the walls she’s put up to protect her heart. Now, more than ever, she longs for trust, love, and a family of her own.

Bonding with her handsome co-worker, Evan, and his teenage daughter, Ashley, Norah gets a glimpse of cohesive family life. She finds herself falling for Evan and becoming an unlikely source of help and understanding for Ashley. Evan and Ashley have an empty seat at their table, one Norah wishes to fill. Yet the guilt of taking the previous woman’s place threatens to keep them apart.

Can Norah overcome the scars of her past and discover her inner strength? And will the private letter from her father answer her questions or destroy the family, and the man, she’s come to love?

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2wYVKLh

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
I didn’t set out on this journey thinking, “I want to be an author.” I just had stories I wanted to share with others. A Promise in Ash was prompted by the feeling of emptiness and failure I experienced after a miscarriage. It developed into a full story after an interesting encounter with a woman as one of the RV parks we’ve stayed at over the years. Her tales inspired the book to become what it is today. I think it’s important to talk about miscarriage and abuse. The more we do, the less uncomfortable the topics become. I just felt like fiction was a gentler way to go about this than self-help. 
Is this your first book?
No, this is my 5th book. I’ve also written three sci-fi fantasies and one holiday romance.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
I’m a self-publisher by nature. I love learning how to do things, so it just seemed like the right fit: doing everything myself. But I also chose self-publishing because I didn’t think I was ready for querying, traditional agents, and contracts. It sounded more serious than I was prepared to dive into. I wanted to figure the system out before I put time and effort into queries.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
My first book was pretty rough the first time around. I’ve edited it a few times since and changed the cover. I’m finally happy with it, but it took a while. But lack of sales came down to a lack of marketing platform and knowledge of marketing in the beginning. I’m much better at it now, but it’s still hard to compete with the pros. 
I still like having total creative control. I design my covers too. This can be detrimental in the beginning when you have no idea what you’re doing. I know I’ve learned a lot, but sometimes I still feel like I’m just “winging it.” Eventually, you learn to trust your training and instincts, and then move on when a project is done. Getting bad reviews sucks. But even super famous books have them. So I figure if I get just a few great reviews, the book was a success. 
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
There is a lot of competition. There will always be the top 100 books to read for the year. But I’ve read some fantastic books by indie authors with less than ten reviews. They’re great writers, but they aren’t included in the top 100 because of lack of discoverability. Indie publishing is great, but it’s led to market saturation. If you want to get readers’ eyes on your books, you have to advertise. 
Traditional publishing is getting more competitive. It’s not just enough now to have a superb query letter and a polished manuscript. You have to have a social media following. Yep. I’ve seen people rejected for that very thing. A marketing platform is everything.
I didn’t understand how to narrow down my audience in the beginning. I’m still working on it. But it’s not enough to search for readers in your genre. You have to focus on the subgenre and key interests. I’m finding this issue is surfacing again with my romance. I have a holiday romance and a dark contemporary romance, which I list as romantic suspense because there’s yet to be a subgenre for that. But readers of one book won’t like the other. The themes and content are too different. It’s frustrating to start over with a readership, but it’s important to acknowledge and respect how very particular some readers are. 
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Sure. I think it’s great to be able to say that you’re an author and have a physical copy of something to show others. People need to share their stories, whether true or fictional. With as much competition as there is now for traditional slots, I think indie authorship is a great alternative. Everybody has a story to tell, even if it’s just their memoir. When we share our ideas and concepts, we discover things about each other and humanity.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Be realistic, which I know is hard when you’re not really sure what you’re getting yourself into. Hopes and prayers aren’t enough to get your book done and seen. You have to be prepared to do a lot of work. Writing is hard. Editing is harder. Formatting is cake. The cover is the frosting; make it look darn pretty. Publishing is eating cake. Marketing is the hardest. 
You need a marketing plan before you publish. You need an author brand, at least in concept. You need to know who will support you, what the genre expectations are, and how to avoid all the amateur mistakes. 
You need to have conviction. Writing will only be one tiny facet of the business if you choose to become a full-time author. You’re going to spend a lot of money on ads and websites and programs—tons of stuff. Save your receipts. You won’t make a lot the first few years until you start to figure the system out. Don’t quit your day job if you can help it. 
Remember why you started writing. Remind yourself of this every day, so you don’t get discouraged. There are going to be chunks of time with no sales. You’re going to get bad reviews. Every author, even famous ones, get them. Don’t pull your book down. Don’t quit writing. You’re going to get better, but only if you don’t give up. 
Thanks for having me!
Best wishes!
-Elysia
 




Friday, March 27, 2020

Book Publishing Secrets with Kiran Bhat

Kiran Bhat was born in Jonesboro, Georgia to parents from villages in Dakshina Kannada, India. An avid world traveler, polyglot, and digital nomad, he has currently traveled to more than 130 countries, lived in 18 different places, and speaks 12 languages. He currently lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Website  → http://iguanabooks.ca/

Book Blurb

The Internet has connected – and continues to connect – billions of people around the world, sometimes in surprising ways. In his sprawling new novel, we of the forsaken world, author Kiran Bhat has turned the fact of that once-unimaginable connectivity into a metaphor for life itself.

In, we of the forsaken world, Bhat follows the fortunes of 16 people who live in four distinct places on the planet. The gripping stories include those of a man’s journey to the birthplace of his mother, a tourist town destroyed by an industrial spill; a chief’s second son born in a nameless remote tribe, creating a scramble for succession as their jungles are destroyed by loggers; a homeless, one-armed woman living in a sprawling metropolis who sets out to take revenge on the men who trafficked her; and a milkmaid in a small village of shanty shacks connected only by a mud and concrete road who watches the girls she calls friends destroy her reputation.

Like modern communication networks, the stories in , we of the forsaken world connect along subtle lines, dispersing at the moments where another story is about to take place. Each story is a parable unto itself, but the tales also expand to engulf the lives of everyone who lives on planet Earth, at every second, everywhere.

As Bhat notes, his characters “largely live their own lives, deal with their own problems, and exist independently of the fact that they inhabit the same space. This becomes a parable of globalization, but in a literary text.”

Bhat continues:  “I wanted to imagine a globalism, but one that was bottom-to-top, and using globalism to imagine new terrains, for the sake of fiction, for the sake of humanity’s intellectual growth.”

“These are stories that could be directly ripped from our headlines. I think each of these stories is very much its own vignette, and each of these vignettes gives a lot of insight into human nature, as a whole.”

we of the forsaken world takes pride of place next to such notable literary works as David Mitchell’s CLOUD ATLAS, a finalist for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for 2004, and Mohsin Hamid’s EXIT WEST, which was listed by the New York Times as one of its Best Books of 2017

Bhat’s epic also stands comfortably with the works of contemporary visionaries such as Umberto Eco, Haruki Murakami, and Philip K. Dick.

PURCHASING LINKS

https://amzn.to/2DQIclm

https://bit.ly/2Lqe9Fi

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?

we, of the forsaken world... came to me in 2011, when I was on a bus between Dubrovnik and Zagreb. A tall, brunette woman with a lingering stare sat down next to me on one of the stops. We began to talk about a host of things I can’t remember now, but the one thing that she told me which did remain in my head was the following: Croatia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Something about that sentence inspired my imagination. After we reached the bus station, I had to sit on one of the metal benches for a few hours, and write. I was starting to imagine different countries, completely imagined in my head. One was a half-rich half poor megalopolis, the sort found in most third-world countries. Then, there was a town that wasn’t so different looking from my grandmother’s place, the southern Indian city of Mysore. There was a tribe in the middle of nowhere, not to mention a town of great touristic importance, destroyed by an industrial spill. I also imagined hundreds of voices. Though, over the course of time, those two hundred-so voices became around sixteen; the most distinct and boisterous of the lot.


As for why I became an author itself... well, that is more complicated. I suppose it started at the age of 17, 2007, when my parents tried to cure me for being gay, and I had to turn to poetry to emotionally survive. I showed this poetry to my classmates and teachers, and they said it was quite good. I grew the courage to write stories, and then as I started traveling, I realized I wanted to write for a global era. So, I continued to travel, continued to write, and continue to creatively evolve.


Is this your first book?

It is my first work in English, but I’ve published books in my mother tongue Kannada, Spanish, Portuguese, and Mandarin.

With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?

I chose to publish with an indie press, because they were the only ones as of now who really loved the book, and so I went with them.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?

I had finished the book in 2016. One of my friends, who was an editor at a small press in New York, gave me a list of agents to contact. Most of them responsed stealthily and quickly, but after some months, they did not find my book – experimental, ambitious, overtly literary – to be a quick fit for the market. They had to turn it down. After about a year of waiting for these agents to respond, I started submitting to small presses. It was in 2019 that I got a response from an editor at Iguana Books. They were interested in publishing the book. I told them that I was still waiting for some other publishers to respond, so I asked them to wait for some weeks so that I could get some responses. Within two weeks, this same editor emailed me, asking me to follow up. He really liked this book, and wanted to publish it. 

Before my work with Iguana Books, I hadn’t had a publisher respond to me so positively. Admittedly, Iguana Books is a hybrid press. This means that they vet every book project that they take on, but they ask the author to take on the financial burdens of publication. This still did not mean that they had to care so much about my writing. They did a lot of work, from the editorial stages, to the design of the cover, and the maps that I asked to have tailored onto the book itself, to make sure that the book was aesthetically enriched. They spent a lot of time with me talking on the phone, making sure all of my needs were met, from last-minute changes to a sentence or two, to having my books flown to Hong Kong or Delhi for the sake of book festivals. I do not think having been published by a hybrid press has downgraded the quality of my work in any way; if anything, I am glad to have had people who believe as fondly in my vision as I do. It makes me look forward to later publications, as well as the future of my career.



I think it would be hard for me to speak of the pros and cons of hybrid publishing; I will have to see, I suppose, once the book officially comes out.



What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?

There is still a lot of stigma in the world towards hybrid publishing, as there is to any alternative means of writing. I don’t understand it, because we all approach writing because we believe we have a story to tell, and so we should judge people inherently through their talents in writing, not by the means to which they published.

Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?

I don’t know. I think you pick whatever path ends up working for you as a writer. If a big publisher takes it, then go for that. If they don’t, keep going down the ladder, until self-publishing is the last resort, and then take that route.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

We as writers are drawn to write what we believe in because that is what our minds have chosen for us. Do justice to that path, and you will get everything you deserve.